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sundance_emmy_nominations_440x330 Sundance Channel Receives Record Primetime Emmy Nominations dancer_upstairs_440 John Malkovich's THE DANCER UPSTAIRS and the myth of the actor-director top-ten-wordpress-feature Top 10 films that represent the war on women 440_the_quiet_american_005 Mitt Romney: THE QUIET AMERICAN?

Politics

Sundance Channel Receives Record Primetime Emmy Nominations

Article: Sundance Channel Receives Record Primetime Emmy Nominations

Sundance Channel received a record ten Prime Time Emmy® nominations for its miniseries TOP OF THE LAKE and RESTLESS, including a category nomination for TOP OF THE LAKE for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie and acting noms for Elisabeth Moss and Peter Mullan as well as Charlotte Rampling for RESTLESS.

John Malkovich's THE DANCER UPSTAIRS and the myth of the actor-director

Article: John Malkovich's THE DANCER UPSTAIRS and the myth of the actor-director

The rap on actors as first-time directors is that they’re often more interested in exploring characters—and indulging cast members—than they are in telling straightforward stories. Think of slow-paced character studies like Sean Penn’s THE INDIAN RUNNER or Gary Oldman’s NIL BY MOUTH. Even Tommy Lee Jones’ modern Western THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA and veteran auteur Robert Redford’s wartime drama LIONS FOR LAMBS (both of which I’ve recently written about) favor long scenes of motivation-revealing dialogue over peppy, narrative-advancing plotting.

Top 10 films that represent the war on women

Article: Top 10 films that represent the war on women

While the topic of women’s rights doesn’t have the box office draw of a bunch of dudes getting wasted at a bachelor party, say, or a bride-to-be getting diarrhea in the middle of the street, there are many excellent movies that cover various aspects of the War on Women (either directly or metaphorically)—workplace discrimination, violence against women, restricted access to abortion, sexual harassment, and all that fun stuff. So when you make a bag of popcorn and tune into the Sundance Channel this month for movies like ROSEMARY’S BABY, I’M NOT THERE and BLUE VELVET, not only will you be entertained, you’ll also be spending some quality time thinking about women’s rights. In other words, you can feel virtuous about that time on the couch. You’re welcome!

Mitt Romney: THE QUIET AMERICAN?

Article: Mitt Romney: THE QUIET AMERICAN?

It’s always the quiet ones. That’s what they say about serial killers, but the same could hold true for foreign-policy hawks. Maybe Mitt Romney’s curiously muted performance in this year’s third and final presidential debate was inspired by Teddy Roosevelt’s famous line, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” More likely, he was channeling the tragically clueless title character in THE QUIET AMERICAN (which airs Sunday at 8:15P on Sundance Channel) the deservedly Oscar-nominated 2002 adaptation of Graham Greene’s prescient anti-Vietnam War novel.

Top 10 reasons THE FLY is still relevant

Article: Top 10 reasons THE FLY is still relevant

Photo Credit: Cinema Squid

What if gene splicing and genetic manipulation were allowed to be explored in this country, bar none? David Cronenberg’s now classic remake of THE FLY paves way for some big questions regarding human intervention with nature. Whatever position you side with in the great Genetic Manipulation debate, here are ten reasons why you should consider the issues our political system and culture would face if humans and insects shared the same body.

Don’t miss THE FLY airing Tuesday, October 30 at 9p on Sundance Channel.

Is Paul Ryan the new MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE?

Article: Is Paul Ryan the new MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A buff, young Congressman with a peninsular hairline unexpectedly earns his party’s nomination for Vice President, but he’s really just a puppet of global corporate forces who want to install him in the White House so he’ll implement their nefarious agenda. No, it’s not THE PAUL RYAN STORY—I’m talking about Jonathan Demme’s eerily prescient 2004 remake of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, airing on Sundance Channel tonight at 9P.

Sundance Channel has "binders full of women" and a creepy potential VP

Article: Sundance Channel has "binders full of women" and a creepy potential VP

It’s hard to believe that there are only 17 days and one debate left until Election Day. Oh, wait…no it isn’t, because if feels as though this campaign season started four years ago. At least it has been amusing. There have been laugh lines on both sides of the aisle, from binders full of women to things you didn’t build. But, we kid because we care and some of the topics we’ve been cracking up over are pretty darn scary! So, in honor of Sundance Channel’s Scary Politics (films as scary as the issues on Tuesdays at 9P, including THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and ROSEMARY’S BABY) check out the five SCARIEST political stories of the week:

LIONS FOR LAMBS and the real cost of war

Article: LIONS FOR LAMBS and the real cost of war

From PATHS OF GLORY to PLATOON, the best war movies bring a global conflict down to a personal level. Director-star Robert Redford takes that approach to the War on Terror — and, more specifically, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan — with his 2007 drama LIONS FOR LAMBS (airing Thursday at 10P and all month long on Sundance Channel). With 68,000 U.S. troops still stationed in Afghanistan and the next president facing a December 2014 deadline to decide how many will stay longer, LIONS FOR LAMBS remains more relevant than ever. Clocking in at a lean 92 minutes, most of it unfolding in real time, the action takes place simultaneously on three fronts.

What's scarier than a Joe Biden smackdown? Scary Politics, Veep edition

Article: What's scarier than a Joe Biden smackdown? Scary Politics, Veep edition

Nuclear Iran! The embassy attack in Libya! War in Syria! Last night’s Vice Presidential Debate brought up some really scary issues (and if you missed it, catch up here). If scary politics is something that actually floats your boat, then have we got some films for you. From now until Election Day Sundance Channel is giving you a break from all of those horrifying campaign ads. Tuesday nights are now for films scary enough to change an Ayatollah’s mind.

Top 10 films that will scare the politics out of you

Article: Top 10 films that will scare the politics out of you

Election Day’s proximity to Halloween is more than a boon for manufacturers of freakish-looking rubber Romney and Obama masks; it’s an opportunity to reflect on all manner of partisan terrors. There aren’t many movies that explicitly mix election-year issues with horror-picture tropes, but there are plenty of movies on Sundance Channel this month that will scare the ever-loving politics out of you, at least for a couple of hours at a time.

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

Article: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

When Jonathan Demme remade THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE — airing tonight at 10P — in 2004, many people were perplexed: Why remake a film that was such a perfect time capsule of Cold War pop culture? Indeed, John Frankenheimer’s 1962 original, about a politician who has been brainwashed by the enemy, feels perfectly placed in history: It’s a film that both embraces Red Scare paranoia while satirizing McCarthyist histrionics. Demme probably felt that the post-9/11 political climate in the U.S., what with the enigmatic War on Terrorism and the controversial Patriot Act, warranted a revisitation of this premise. But the original was, in essence, a tight and effective suspense flick with political overtones — more Hitchcock than Sherwood Andersen. Demme’s politically pointed remake is darker, more modern and more despairing, with an A-List cast to match its ambitions, featuring Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep.

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

Article: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

When Jonathan Demme remade THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE — airing tonight at 10P — in 2004, many people were perplexed: Why remake a film that was such a perfect time capsule of Cold War pop culture? Indeed, John Frankenheimer’s 1962 original, about a politician who has been brainwashed by the enemy, feels perfectly placed in history: It’s a film that both embraces Red Scare paranoia while satirizing McCarthyist histrionics. Demme probably felt that the post-9/11 political climate in the U.S., what with the enigmatic War on Terrorism and the controversial Patriot Act, warranted a revisitation of this premise. But the original was, in essence, a tight and effective suspense flick with political overtones — more Hitchcock than Sherwood Andersen. Demme’s politically pointed remake is darker, more modern and more despairing, with an A-List cast to match its ambitions, featuring Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep.

FACTOTUM: It takes hard work to be poor in America

Article: FACTOTUM: It takes hard work to be poor in America

“All I wanna do is get my check and get drunk,” Hank — the alter ego of Skid Row poet laureate Charles Bukowski — tells one of the many employers who fire him in FACTOTUM, airing tonight at 8P and 9:45P. “Now, that might not sound healthy to you, but it’s my choice.”

FACTOTUM: It takes hard work to be poor in America

Article: FACTOTUM: It takes hard work to be poor in America

“All I wanna do is get my check and get drunk,” Hank — the alter ego of Skid Row poet laureate Charles Bukowski — tells one of the many employers who fire him in FACTOTUM, airing tonight at 8P and 9:45P. “Now, that might not sound healthy to you, but it’s my choice.”

Robert Redford on clean energy and the presidential debate

Article: Robert Redford on clean energy and the presidential debate

This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post yesterday.

So, the first 2012 Presidential debate starts in a few minutes. I’m fairly sure Mitt Romney thinks he has an ace in the hole by using the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline against President Obama. In fact, he and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have said they’ll approve it on day one of their administration.

Robert Redford on clean energy and the presidential debate

Article: Robert Redford on clean energy and the presidential debate

This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post yesterday.

So, the first 2012 Presidential debate starts in a few minutes. I’m fairly sure Mitt Romney thinks he has an ace in the hole by using the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline against President Obama. In fact, he and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have said they’ll approve it on day one of their administration.

Mitt Romney has a thing or two to learn from MELQUIADES ESTRADA

Article: Mitt Romney has a thing or two to learn from MELQUIADES ESTRADA

When it comes to the issue of immigration, Mitt Romney has two faces. There’s the one he wore at his now-notorious behind-closed-doors fundraiser in Boca Raton, where he “joked” to a roomful of fat cats that “it would be helpful to be Latino.” Then there’s the noticeably browner face he wore to a forum on the Spanish-language network Univision, where he spouted meaningless rhetoric about how the answer to illegal immigration is “self-deportation.” He seems so unconcerned with understanding what life is like for Spanish-speaking immigrants (illegal or otherwise) in this country, it’s a milagro he can discuss issues of concern to that community while keeping a straight face.

Robert Redford joins One Billion Rising to end violence against women

Article: Robert Redford joins One Billion Rising to end violence against women

Robert Redford is speaking out on behalf of a global effort to end violence against women.

The Sundance founder is joining Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler’s One Billion Rising, which encourages people around the world to “walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to the violence.”

BIG FAN and the real blood sports both on and off the field

Article: BIG FAN and the real blood sports both on and off the field

After Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan committed a penalty that may have cost his team a recent game, he received death threats on Twitter. Who would be crazy enough to do such a thing? Meet Paul Auferio (Patton Oswalt), a 36-year-old schlub who works at a dead-end day job and spends his nights calling in to a sports-radio station to proclaim his undying love for the New York Giants — and his murderous hate for the divisional rival Philadelphia Eagles. He’s the tragic title character in the super-dark comedy BIG FAN (airing tomorrow night at 8P on Sundance Channel).

Did DEATH WISH kill gun control?

Article: Did DEATH WISH kill gun control?

Once upon a time in America, there was a gun-control debate. Then came Charles Bronson. In 1974′s DEATH WISH — tonight at 10:10P on Sundance Channel — the journeyman character actor shot to superstardom as Paul Kersey, a self-confessed “bleeding-heart liberal” who becomes a pistol-packing urban vigilante after his daughter is raped and his wife is murdered. Made for a modest $3 million, the gritty flick earned back more than seven times its budget and spawned four sequels over the next 20 years. Now director Joe Carnahan (THE GREY) is planning a remake.

Film Intelligence: OBAMA'S AMERICA and NINJA TURTLES

Article: Film Intelligence: OBAMA'S AMERICA and NINJA TURTLES

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. We read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: a big indie hit, a small indie studio fire and a hugely misguided remake.

And we have a winner in the gay-marriage debate!

Article: And we have a winner in the gay-marriage debate!

With all the backlash over “legitimate rape” vs. illegitimate (sic) rape last week, another great debate got a little lost in the shuffle: the gay-marriage debate between Dan Savage, sex columnist and married gay dad of one adopted son, and Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage and straight married father of seven biological kids.

CROSSETT: Small-town David vs. corporate Goliath

Article: CROSSETT: Small-town David vs. corporate Goliath

Environmental regulations kill jobs. If companies didn’t have to spend money on such nonsense, they could afford to hire more people. That’s a consistent narrative coming out of the right-wing media in this country, and one that’s heavily promoted by various nonprofit organizations funded by Charles and David Koch (aka the Koch brothers). The brothers and their company, Koch Industries, have also paid out millions in lobbying expenses and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians willing to fight various forms of environmental regulation.

Why THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON matters more than ever

Article: Why THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON matters more than ever

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, leading Republicans feared that John Lennon was going to be a threat in the 1972 election, thanks to his pop culture stardom and anti-war activism. They went on a quest to deport him in the hopes he wouldn’t influence the youth vote in the United States. Now here we are, 50 years later, and we’re still facing some of the same problems when it comes to fair and free elections. Except that instead of deporting the people who lead movements, the government has taken the war directly to the voters.

Naked News: Sex scandals abound, from celebrities, politicians and animals

Article: Naked News: Sex scandals abound, from celebrities, politicians and animals

Much of this week’s news was slightly infuriating: Animals get birth control but humans don’t? The mistress gets punished but the married man doesn’t? Rapists get rights but their victims don’t? Aaarrrggghhh!